Sunday, September 3, 2017

Why They Are Out of Business

Following are comments from a company president given during an interview as the reason they shut down their business.

"Doing business based on relationships, service, and trust, is just not as highly valued as it used to be."

"The passion for service is gone."

"Willing to do what-ever-it-takes to serve the customer doesn't have the value it used to have."

I have some concerns about this.  I think these reasons are pretty thin.  Let's look at this from the customer's point of view.

Relationship: If you think relationships are not highly valued, try doing business without one.  Just the opposite is true!

I am not going to pay a higher price because of our relationship, but you will get to keep my business if we have a good relationship and you don't take advantage of it. 

From a customer's point of view the relationship has to be stronger than ever before.  It has to be sincere.  It has to be beneficial for both of us.

Trust: Integrity is way to gain trust.  Do these examples below make me trust you?  You can fool some of the people some of the time, but trust is more important than ever.  You have to earn it by telling the truth.

~Do these examples build trust?

~A pound cake is not really a pound.

~A foot long hot dog is only 10 inches.

~Many number 10 cans are not number 10’s.

~Shrimp baskets don’t have all the shrimp.

~Retailers put incorrect prices in their scanners.

~Product manipulation, product substitution and short weight are considered "strategies".

~Intentional invoice over charges and mistakes are built into the system of many banks, credit card companies and mortgage companies.

~Water is injected in lobster tails to increase their weight.

~Products are in the market that are over breaded, over glazed and over pumped.

~Scallops are soaked in sodium-Tripoli-phosphate to increase weight.

- 7 billion bottles of water are sold every year with much of it being simply tap water!

HONESTY ALWAYS WORKS BEST! The best business or sales person is always the one who tells the truth.  It is not only impressive but it leaves a trail of trust behind.  Not the best talker wins, it’s the most honest talker.  The best approach to building customer trust is to deserve confidence.
Service:  "What-ever-it-takes to serve the customer doesn't have the value it used to have!" 

Immediate, enthusiastic and energetic response to a customer request is more valued than ever.
The problem is people have become so dependent on technology that good customer service has disappeared!  What does your voice mail sound like?  If you are a president or vice president, call your own company and see what impression your customers are getting.  Passion for service is more appreciated than it has ever been, because it is so rare!

"Dial 1 for shipping, dial 2 for warehouse, dial 3 for directions, dial 4 for credit, dial 5 for accounts payable!"  Is that "what-ever-it-takes service?”

Here's the bottom line. 

Things are changing.  FAST.  Before you make the change be sure it is not replacing the things that made you successful in the first place: Serving customers.

Monday, August 14, 2017

Coaching Improves Results As Much As 40% Over Managing

What’s the difference between a coach and a manager?

A coach spends more time listening and asking questions, while a manager spends more time speaking and giving directions.

A coach invests time in observing, while a manager makes quick assumptions.

A coach uncovers issues to get the root of a problem, while a manager takes the quickest route to deal with the surface symptoms.

A coach helps accept responsibility, while a manager assigns blame.

A coach supports employees in developing their plans, while a manager gives them the plan and dictates to-do lists.

We’ve all experienced variations of coach vs. manager types. The truth is, it seems easier and more expedient to “manage” than to "coach". But research shows that coaches have more engaged employees, and get better results.

Done well, good coaching is well worth it.  Good coaching leads to improved employee engagement, retention and performance. Specifically regarding performance, employees receiving fair and accurate feedback from their coach performed 40% better than employees who did not.

Helping other people increase their performance is really powerful when the person you have been working with on a specific skill or behavior masters it.  If you ask a person who has had a successful coaching relationship what makes it great, they will tell you the coach actually cared. They would say that the coach was clear, persistent, committed, and often passionate and gave them a different perspective.

5 Behaviors for Managers Who

Want to Coach Employees:

1. Let go of the belief that your job is to have all of the answers. 

When you don’t give employees the opportunity to solve their own problems, they don’t develop. Instead, they become dependent and never reach their full potential.

2. Managers have to believe that every employee has the potential to grow and improve. 

A manager can’t coach an employee if they sincerely don’t believe in the employee.

3. Managers need to be willing to slow down and take the time to coach. 

Coaching does take a little more time and patience upfront, and it takes deliberate practice to get good at it.  People learn, they develop, performance improves, people are more satisfied and engaged, and your company is more successful.

4. Managers should learn how to coach.

You can’t just throw a switch and be an effective coach. You need to have a framework, and it takes practice.

5. Managers should study the experts and practice the techniques.

To learn how to coach, you should experience what it’s like to be coached by someone who’s really good at it. Then, read a good book on the topic. Then, practice, practice, practice and get feedback. After a while, you begin to reap the benefits.

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Stepping out of the comfort zone

Most of us naturally seek to avoid unnecessary inconvenience. However, taking a step out of the comfort zone can really benefit your business.

Companies grow by continually innovating and expanding their product line and reach. When you step out of your comfort zone and challenge yourself, you learn new things and gain a whole new world of knowledge. With the right mindset this will open new opportunities.

Can you guess the single biggest obstacle to a successful business? Our comfort zone!

As business owners, we find our “comfort zone” and stay there. Our comfort zone is a place that feels safe, familiar, and predictable.

Your comfort zone is a place where there are no surprises and no difficulties, just the same thing day after day. It's where you become complacent, satisfied with what you have right now even though you want more.

Being afraid of change severely limits what you can accomplish in your business. Living in a comfort zone stops you from trying new things. To be around for the long-term requires that you expand your marketing and services.

Stepping out of your comfort zone means expecting and welcoming change. This perspective is good because in business if you won't change, you're days may be limited. People that are willing to step out of the norm experiment and try new things and ideas.

People who step out are the people who do what others won't do.

How do you take that first step out of your comfort zone? You have to be confident and know that you can do anything with the right attitude and effort.

Get in the habit of doing things that make you feel uncomfortable or uneasy but are important for the well- being of your business.

Overcoming fears concerning your abilities and the unknown will let you accomplish practically anything you want. You must take that first step. Don't put it off. Take action where action is needed. Bite the bullet and do it even if you would rather not.

When you started your business you were most likely out of your comfort zone 24/7. Perhaps you were a great employee and technician who thought you would try your hand at running your own show. Overnight you needed to become a sales person, admin assistant, receptionist, marketing guru etc. You were out of your comfort zone big time.

Why it is that many business owners don’t take the plunge to venture out into the unknown after they have had their business for a while? Many believe that what they are doing worked in the past even if it is producing less results, so they keep doing the same thing.

Every business is changing and evolving constantly, there are many disrupters emerging in every market. When you are so embedded in your business it is near impossible to see the disrupters coming. Even those that see it coming don’t know how or what to do to stop it. They are fearful but stay in their comfort zone, doing the same thing hoping for different results.

A good solution is partnering with a business mentor to help learn and adapt to the changes that are inevitable. Another solution is to join associations like your state restaurant association, you local chamber of commerce, or your industry associations. They can be your link to your industry's universe and help you prepare for the future.